Even in what is a burgeoning all-flash array market, the announcement by HP that the company will release a 3PAR array that supports all-flash storage adds credibility that smaller all-flash niche players may not have been able to achieve on their own by bringing an all-flash product further into the mainstream. As more large players stake ground in the all-flash market, the rising tide is likely to lift all ships.
A CIO primer on solid state storage and the solid state market For more information about the solid state storage market, read Wikibon’s primer, which includes an overview of the technology and a snapshot of today’s market.
The HP 3PAR P10000 provides enterprises with significant scale by supporting up to 512 solid state disks in configurations that include four controller pairs (V800 model) – that’s 128 SSD’s per controller pair. According to the product specification page, solid state drives up to 200 GB each in size are currently supported, meaning that the P10000 V800 model boasts a raw capacity of 100 TB when fully configured. However, although it remains an important component, pure flash arrays rarely have a primary focus on raw capacity. Rather, the goal in these systems is to be able to push as much data as possible through the environment to meet burgeoning business needs and perform large-scale analysis. To that end, the P10000 also supports the most modern connectivity options available; both 8 Gb Fiber Channel and 10 Gb iSCSI are supported transmission options.
HP’s announcement this week brings a leading vendor’s all-SSD storage option to market with the full backing of a major player. For customers, the HP 3PAR announcement also brings with it a number of benefits, including:
- Massive scale for storage while at the same time retaining massive performance in a single storage tier, effectively eliminating the need for constant manual administrator intervention.
- With such high density, the potential to reduce data center physical space and maintain very high levels of performance since there is no need to add rotational disk to meet performance goals.
- With fewer SSD devices needed to achieve performance goals when compared with rotational or hybrid storage, a lower overall energy bill.
- If desired, the ability to revert to a mix of SSD and traditional storage if capacity goals can’t be met with just SSDs. The HP 3PAR P10000 can support all SSD disks or a combination of SSD and SATA.
While the P10000 is not likely to take the place of some of the purpose-built all-flash SSD-based arrays from vendors such as Pure Storage or Kaminario, it does provide customers with an all-in-one-family path that can be leveraged as new needs arise in an organization. For example, customers can start with a rotational disk or hybrid 3PAR solution to meet today’s performance goals and, as performance needs increase, adopt an all-flash array from the same vendor that is managed using familiar management tools. For many, such a growth path is an important buying consideration.
Action Item: Expect more announcements like this over time. Flash, that started as a niche performance-boosting solution, is quickly becoming a mainstream option as the price of solid state storage declines and capacity increases.
Expect many of today's all-flash niche players to be acquired by bigger vendors, including Dell, HP, NetApp and EMC, as these vendors continue to add solid state options to their storage portfolios.